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(Reuters) - U.S. drug wholesaler McKesson Corp (MCK.N) reported a lower-than-expected quarterly net profit on Thursday, citing a $40 million charge for a Canadian legal dispute and deferred international revenue.
For the fiscal third quarter ended December 31, 2012, the company posted net income of $298 million, or $1.24 per share, compared with $300 million, or $1.20 per share, in the year-earlier period when there were more shares outstanding.
Excluding special items, earnings were $1.52 per share, while analysts, on average, expected adjusted earnings of $1.63 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
ISI Group analyst Ross Muken attributed the earnings miss to weak margins, but said the company's business fundamentals remain solid.
"Our full year view of the operating performance in our Distribution Solutions segment is now better than our original expectations, and our full year view of the operating performance in the primary businesses in Technology Solution remains unchanged," McKesson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hammergren said in a statement.
Revenue for the quarter rose 1 percent to $31.2 billion, which was above Wall Street expectations of $30.8 billion.
San Francisco-based McKesson lowered its full-year fiscal 2013 adjusted earnings forecast to between $7.10 and $7.30 per share from a previous estimate of $7.15 to $7.35 per share.
The company said it bought back $360 million of its shares in the latest quarter and its board has authorized the repurchase of an additional $500 million of its shares.
Shares of McKesson fell to $102.65 in after-hours trading, compared with a close of $105.23 during the regular session.
The company is being helped by the expiration of patents on big drugs such as cholesterol fighter Lipitor and schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa, which have paved the way for cheaper generics that carry better profit margins for drug distributors.
Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; editing by Matthew Lewis and Carol Bishopric